Basic income must allow people to live with dignity

By Aaron Broverman -- Yahoo Finance

When the Ontario Government included a paragraph in the 2016 budget discussing plans for a pilot program testing universal basic income, those on welfare and disability income support probably took notice.

Currently, if you’re collecting monthly Ontario Works payments – the province’s version of welfare – you receive a maximum between $681 per month as a single person and $1,408 as part of a couple with two children. The maximum monthly cheque for those on the Ontario Disability Support Program [ODSP] is a bit higher, between $1,110 for a single person  and $2,025 for a couple with two children. Neither payment is anywhere near the average cost of living in Ontario. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which sets the living wage for the province ($18.52 per hour, per person), puts average expenses for a family of four in Toronto at $65,850.55 a year. The ODSP payment at its maximum would pay out $24,300 a year.

This means those who are eligible for Ontario Works and ODSP require their rent to be subsidized just to afford it and then must use what’s left to afford basic necessities. But a Guaranteed Basic Income, like the one Ontario plans to test this fall, has the potential to bring their income closer to the actual cost of living in the province.

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